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The 100th Westchester Open Table Tennis Tournament

Warren Rosenberg, MetroSports Magazine

September 28, 2020

On the weekend of September 26-27 the Westchester Table Tennis Center hosted the 100th Westchester Open Table Tennis Tournament at its newly expanded facility in Pleasantville, N.Y. Operating under state-mandated Covid-19 restrictions, the tournament field was limited to 36 competitors in each of four divisions. Spectators were generally not allowed. Face masks and social-distancing were required, except for participants while competing.

For this tournament, six players rated over 2500 competed, including Felix Lartey of the Ghanaian National Table Tennis Team. Mr. Lartey, who arrived in the States prior to the pandemic, has been isolated here and unable to return home. The tournament's impact has been felt well beyond Westchester, too. Last year alone, videos of the tournaments had nearly 200,000 views on YouTube.

The Westchester Open tournaments and the establishment of the Westchester Table Tennis Center are steps towards the fulfillment of the vision of Will Shortz, owner of the WTTC and, perhaps, best known outside the table tennis world as the New York Times crossword editor and ‘puzzlemaster’. In an exclusive interview with MetroSports Magazine, Will laid out that vision:

My goal has always been to have the premier table tennis tournaments in the country. From the start we awarded significant amounts of prize money — more than any other club. The amount was $6,000 a month until the pandemic started, amounting to over half a million dollars since 2011. Players come from all over the world for our tournaments, which have become famous internationally. So far 19 players world-ranked among the top 500 by the ITTF have competed. Our tournaments have supported and helped grow the sport of table tennis in the U.S., giving the best American players a chance to compete regularly at a high level — and to be rewarded when they win.”

Looking to the future, Will said, “When the pandemic restrictions end, I plan to increase our prize money further, so we attract even higher-level players from around the world. I'd like our tournaments to draw more spectators. We've installed fixed bleachers in our facility for this purpose. Table tennis is a great sport to watch. I'd like more views for our videos on YouTube. Ultimately, my goal is to attract significant sponsorship.

While successfully positioning the WTTC for recognition as a national and international sports venue, Will hasn’t forgotten, and hasn’t forsaken, the local community: “At heart, we're still a friendly club, where all ages and skill levels are welcome.”

With respect to the 100th WTTC Westchester Open, 88 players took part. The tournament consisted of four events. The results:

Open Division

• Final: Sharon Alguetti defeated Mishel Levinski

• Semifinalists: Gal Alguetti, Jon Ebuen

• Quarterfinalists: Dario Ardeljan, Kokou Fanny, Felix Lartey, Ye Tian

• Round of 16: Santiago Acosta, Alex Averin, Courage Nanevie, John McDermott, Shuang Wang, Jayden Zhou

Under 2250

• Final: John McDermott defeated Santiago Acosta

• Semifinalists: Tiancheng Wang, Chase Womack

• Quarterfinalists: Philippe Dassonval, J.P. Kadzinski, Matt Needle, Hasan Saidov

• Round of 16: Lucy Chen, Darius Fahimi, Daniz Guney, Connor Lee, Courage Nanevie, Mukaila Rabiu, Husen Saidov, Mitchell Shinder

Under 2000

Final: Kurt Douty defeated Eugene Sazhin

• Semifinalists: Viren Bhatia, Amir Khan

• Quarterfinalists: Bosman Botha, Rosine Dongo, Daria Fahimi, Jacob Lee

Under 1600

• Final: Zhilong Lin defeated Arun Thomas

• Semifinalists: Botond Acosta, Cyril Khazan

• Quarterfinalists: Parker Cunningham, Alon Danai, Daniel Danai, Ashley Popp


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